Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash

Last week it was the Pharisees that came to test Jesus.  They had asserted themselves, in concert with the civic ruling authorities, to be the primary arbiters over the theological integrity of religious practice.  And they didn’t much appreciate Jesus’ challenging their traditions, let alone their theology.  Change, especially when it’s prompted by others, can be a threatening catalyst.

In yesterday’s reading, it’s now the lawyers, the “Scribes,” who take a turn at finding fault with what Jesus is teaching.  They too are feeling threatened that this son of a carpenter and his fishermen followers are getting all the attention here in the big city of Jerusalem.  And Jesus is threatening the legalistic lens through which they see how God’s people should behave.

In Mark’s gospel, Jesus consistently challenges the status quo, not to incite rebellion or disruption, but to unveil a greater truth: the cost of love. His teachings and actions illustrate a radical reimagining of God’s vision for the world—a vision rooted in compassion, justice, and mercy.

The Pharisees and Scribes, entrenched in their positions of power and authority, struggle to comprehend this vision. To them, love comes at the cost of control, status, and privilege. But Jesus reveals a different reality—that love demands vulnerability, humility, and selflessness. It’s a costly love that overturns systems of oppression, heals wounds of division, and restores dignity to the marginalized.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to embody this costly love in our lives and communities. It requires us to confront our own biases and privilege, to challenge injustice wherever it exists, and to extend grace and compassion to all, even those who oppose us. In doing so, we participate in God’s ongoing work of reconciliation and redemption, bringing forth the kingdom of God here on earth.

May God’s peace find you today.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray… Gracious God, empower us to embrace the costly love personified by Jesus, challenging systems of injustice and extending compassion to all. Amen.